Dental Care for your Child
- Fissure Sealant
Children’s permanent teeth can benefit from the placement of a fissure sealant. The biting surfaces of back teeth are shaped like “hills and valleys” known as cusps and fissures. The fissures are major sites for dental decay.
Toothbrush bristles are unable to get into the narrow fissures to clean, remove plaque and bacteria; which produce acid when sugar is eaten, causing decay.
To avoid decay, the fissures are sealed over with a plastic coating (fissure sealant). This means your child’s back teeth (molars), will be less likely to need fillings at a later stage.
Placing a fissure sealant is a painless procedure as there is no cutting away of the tooth tissue – no drilling.
- Plaque Control
Daily brushing is important to remove dental plaque from teeth. If it is not removed it continues to build up and can cause dental decay and gum disease. Teeth should be brushed with a systematic approach. The brush head should be small and able to reach the back teeth. A fluoride toothpaste should be used, a pea-sized amount for older children and a scraping for younger children. Toothpaste should be spat out with no rinsing of water, so the fluoride can stay in the mouth for longer, and provide added protection.
The brush should be half on the teeth and half on the gums when brushing, and a small backward-forward scrubbing action is adopted. Teeth should be brushed twice daily, especially at night before bedtime, as the flow of saliva slows down. Brushing at this time will also help repair the teeth.
Electric toothbrushes may be a good choice for children as they might be more inclined to use them due to the novelty thereof. Children should practice brushing their teeth themselves, however, they do not have the practical skills to complete this effectively therefore an adult should assist in gently brushing their teeth after their own attempt.